Hank’s Pasta Bar expansion to include rooftop dining

Hank’s Pasta Bar expansion to include rooftop dining
The expansion of Hank’s Pasta bar will include rooftop dining, increased seating and increased hours of operation. (Rendering: City of Alexandria)

By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

Council voted unanimously to add rooftop dining, increase the number of seats and increase the hours of operation of Hank’s Pasta Bar on Montgomery Street at its public hearing on Saturday.

Hank’s Pasta Bar has been operating at 600 Montgomery St. in Old Town North since 2015 at a location that has been a restaurant for nearly 30 years. The owners also operate Hank’s Oyster Bar on King Street.

The proposal to modify the original special use permit for the restaurant involves increasing the number of seats from 99 to 312, of which 86 would be dedicated to outdoor rooftop dining. The applicant was also approved to add indoor live entertainment and outdoor loudspeakers.

The applicant said the second floor of the space has been mostly used for storage, but that adding more seating would allow them to use the space for special events and overflow dining as needed.

The applicant also requested a parking reduction. Based on floor area and seating increases, the restaurant would be required to provide 10 spaces. Because there is not parking on the site, the applicant asked for a reduction so that they wouldn’t have to provide any parking. According to the staff report, “a restaurant has operated at the site with 99 seats for almost 30 years and a review of city records revealed no parking-related complaints.”

Councilor Del Pepper asked how the restaurant would handle parking when the second floor was rented out for special events.

“The staff has a condition that when the second floor is being used for a special event, that we find off street parking,” David Chamowitz, the attorney for the applicant, said. “As an actual matter of fact … the people having a special event will be very motivated to find parking for their guests so I think both as a regulatory matter and a practical matter, that will take care of itself.”

Council expressed support for the expansion and approved the proposal unanimously, by a 5-0 vote. Councilors John Chapman and Canek Aguirre were not present at the public hearing.

“I’m excited about this expansion. This is a great use in our community, so we’re thrilled to have them continue to grow their presence here,” Mayor Justin Wilson said.